Israeli police remove protestors from evacuated West Bank settlement


Israeli security forces yesterday removed around 200 protestors from a former-West Bank settlement which had been evacuated ten years ago.

Sa-Nur was one of four settlements in the northern West Bank which were evacuated at the same time as Israel completed its total withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2010 under Ariel Sharon’s disengagement plan. During the past several days, protestors including former residents had gathered at what is left of Sa-Nur, marking the tenth anniversary of the withdrawal and also coinciding with protests in another settlement, Beit El, over a court-ordered demolition of two illegal buildings.

Some of the protestors at Sa-Nur had vowed to remain there and establish a permanent presence. However, the area was declared a closed military zone and according to YNet news, at around 7am yesterday police forcibly removed some of the protestors although others peacefully boarded buses to nearby Kedumim.

Among those who apparently joined the Sa-Nur protestors were Jewish Home MKs Aryeh Eldad and Bezalel Smotrich. The protestors sent a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying “A decade ago we were banished from Sa-Nur… Our stay here over the past two days proves that it is possible [to return].”

The removal of protestors at Sa-Nur came just a day after protestors from the settler community failed to prevent the demolition of two buildings in Beit El, which contained 24 housing units. Israel’s High Court rejected an eleventh-hour appeal against the demolitions, upholding a 2010 ruling that the property was registered to Palestinians and the building did not have the correct permits. The Beit El demolitions were strongly criticised throughout the week by senior Jewish Home leaders and some Likud Knesset members, including government ministers. Opposition MK Tzipi Livni said that government ministers have a “duty” to “stand by the High Court decision and not by… violent rioters.”